A visit to Sapelo Island

A visual tour of one of the last intact Sea Island Gullah Geechee communities in the country accessible only by ferry.

Sapelo Island is a 16,006-acre barrier island in McIntosh County, Georgia, roughly halfway between Jacksonville and Savannah. Accessible only by ferry, it is home to Hogg Hummock. Hogg Hummock is one of the last known Geechee communities located on a Sea Island not connected by bridge to the mainland. Invited by residents of the island to discuss opportunities to collaborate to preserve its cultural heritage and limit displacement, we recently visited Sapelo. Here is a virtual tour of a largely undeveloped island on the Atlantic coast, rich in history, nature, indigenous and Gullah Geechee cultural heritage.

The Sapelo Island Visitors Center

Leaving the mainland from the Sapelo Island Meridian Dock at Hudson Creek.

A view of Doboy Sound.

The Marsh Landing Dock on the Duplin River.

The Sapelo Island Lighthouse is a Winslow Lewis brick lighthouse that was built on Sapelo Island in 1820.

The Reynolds Mansion was built by Thomas Spalding, a future senator and U.S. Representative, in the early 19th century. Spalding brought enslaved people from West African and the West Indies to cultivate Sea Island Cotton, corn, sugar cane and sell live oak for shipbuilding. In the early 20th century, the mansion was purchased by Howard E. Coffin, founder of Detroit’s Hudson Motor Car Company. It was sold to Richard Joshua Reynolds, Jr., of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in 1934. Following the death of Reynolds, the majority of the island was obtained by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in 1975.

Nannygoat Beach and the Atlantic Ocean

The Nannygoat Beach Pavilion

Looking north along Dean Creek

The Georgia DNR/SINERR/United States Post Office

A view of Barn Creek

Behavior Cemetery

A borrow pit near E Perimter Road